More federal help urged for Canadian farmers’ mental health

All-party committee calls for Ottawa to address potential impacts of new policies their well-being

A farm tractor and baler sit in a hay field on a misty morning near Cremona, Alta. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh)

Lawmakers are calling on the federal government to better support Canadian farmers who they say are more at risk of mental-health issues like stress, depression and suicidal thoughts than other segments of the population.

In a new report Tuesday, members of an all-party parliamentary committee made 10 recommendations — including ensuring the government considers and addresses any potential impacts from new policies on the well-being of agricultural producers.

The MPs also recommended the public-awareness campaigns to deal with an increasing number of incidents of intimidation, cyberbullying and threats faced by farmers from people who take issue with their occupations and practices.

The report says farmers struggle with many challenges — such as market volatility, debt, long work days, unpredictable weather and loneliness.

Committee chair and New Brunswick Liberal MP Pat Finnigan says the well-being of farmers is critical because the agriculture sector feeds Canadians and helps drive the entire economy.

Alberta Conservative MP Earl Dreeshen says the incidence of mental-health problems within the farming sector is reaching crisis proportions.

Dreeshen says agriculture producers and their families are increasingly experiencing “high levels of stress, depression and even suicidal thoughts — the causes are many and varied.”

READ MORE: Animal rights group invades B.C. pig farm

He added that farmers sometimes face hardship from government policies, such as the carbon tax and concessions made in recent trade agreements.

The report is based on testimony from farmers, mental-health experts and government officials.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Greenwood grew greatly in the late 1890s

Place Names: Greenwood neighbourhoods

Trail clears the way for development of old Esso lot

The centrally-located site in downtown Trail has been vacant since 2009

Trail company spearheads high-tech research project

Goal to develop a battery that is smaller and more powerful than what’s currently available

Tell the Times

Web Poll: Based on a popular news story locally or beyond

Nachos anyone?

Until Sept. 5, the East Trail concession is open 7 days a week from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Cross-examination begins for B.C. dad accused of killing young daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

B.C. Hydro applies for rare cut in electricity rates next year

Province wrote off $1.1 billion debt to help reverse rate increase

Speculation tax forces sale of Greater Victoria’s iconic ‘Tulip House’

Bob and Jan Fleming selling their retirement home famous for its thousands of tulips

Most Read